Days of Change

For the Future

December 29, 2016
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Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

-Plan 9 From Outer Space

A post at Ace of Spades brought up something I’ve been thinking about for a while. In a sense, I’m not that worried about President Donald Trump. We’ve had bad presidents before. One is leaving in 22 days. I am worried about the fact that conservatism, especially of moral direction, is as much in the woods as it was during the Carter administration before social conservatives joined the Reagan coalition. They became Republicans by default, but what that means now is less clear.

Conservatism, by its very name, is accused of being stuck in the past. I prefer to think of it as following a sort of natural law. The best example is capitalism, where people buy things because they need and want them and work because they need purchasing power. In the case of something like gay marriage, marriage has evolved, but sexuality hasn’t. Modern society is the force categorizing people, then opening up pathways as if they need government permission to be different.

The new flavor of conservatism is the alt-right. Their principles are as well defined as the tea party and their tactics are a version of the liberals we’ve despised for decades. The post above mentions that the alt-right seems to long for a day in the past where both sides were civil. I guess they don’t know about the reason for the first change to the Electoral College.

Donald Trump’s election was a throwback, where he plans to “save” the jobs of factory workers who make things that will become unprofitable to make. He also plans to eschew the Cold War for the Barbary Wars. He appealed to the older voters who lost their coal jobs to Obama. The bad news is that while young people voted Democrat, those new voters the alt-right said were going to go for Trump actually went to Clinton.

Of course, Democrats constantly say that young people and Mexicans are going to eliminate the Republican Party. I happen to think the Democrats will eliminate themselves. The GOP can help destroy themselves if they run on a platform of turning America’s clock back.


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Is This Actually Happening?

December 28, 2016
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Debbie Reynolds, actress and mother of Carrie Fisher, dead at 84.

Three more days.


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4 Days to Go

December 27, 2016
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Looks like Death came for another famous person before the year ended.


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Close Call

December 26, 2016
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My last stab at voting number six weeks ago missed about 8 million votes that apparently took weeks to count. This is the graph I made November 15.

voters

This is what the vote actually looks like

voters2

The big difference is that the popular vote shifted up for Clinton by 4.8 million, Trump by 2.6 million and others by 850,000. Turnout was at an all-time high at 135.6 million, Clinton essentially equaled Obama’s 2012 vote total and Trump beat the second highest GOP vote (G.W. Bush in 2004) by just under 1 million votes. That covers most of what I was wrong about.

How about everyone else? There are two popular misconceptions. One is that Hillary Clinton “won” the popular vote. First of all, there was not a popular vote contest. Hillary Clinton won the best pantsuit contest over Trump, but since it wasn’t a contest, it’s meaningless. Secondly, the Constitution defines a presidential win by a majority of Electors. Clinton didn’t even win the majority of the popular vote.

The other side’s misconception is that the popular vote doesn’t matter. The national popular vote does not define a presidential victory, but all the states use the popular vote in the state to decide which electors are selected. In 2012, Obama could have lost 3% of the popular vote in battleground states and still won. For Trump, 1.5% would have meant defeat. Looking at the peaks in the “Other” vote in 2000 and 2016, Republicans seem to benefit from higher turnout against both parties.

The bad news for Democrats is that “winning the popular vote” is a fatal obsession. Instead of trying to turn close states with a targeted message, the left is working off a turnout model that more and more relies on large turnout in urban areas that have been destroyed in the very states they lost in 2016. Democrats are a minority party, excuse the word play. Barack Obama had the biggest majority by a Democrat in decades, but he did it by fooling non-Democrats to vote for a candidate promising change from the status quo.

The bad news for Republicans is that Trump’s victory was more luck than skill. First, Trump can from outside politics and used tactics that were different. Different is hard to plan for, but different becomes the same very quickly. Also, while Kellyanne Conway argued that polling different attitudes of voters showed Trump would win, the less than 2% difference in the vote in battleground states is well within the margin of error in any poll. In other words, up until Election Day, they only knew that Trump could win, not that he would.

Here’s my list of takeaways:

  • Americans may be more “independent,” but they don’t vote that way. Third-party turnout is highest when one or more major party candidates are unpopular. Otherwise, it’s only about 1.5%.
  • People are sick of government interference when they are told about it. The Tea Party hammered on the ACA in 2009 and 2010 and won a majority in the House. They were effectively shut down in 2012 and people weren’t sick enough of government to keep Obama out of office.
  • Trump did about the same as Romney across racial groups, but worse among women.
  • The most important Republican in 2016 was Gary Johnson. This former Republican gave people who didn’t want to vote for Trump an option that wasn’t Jill Stein.
  • Poll bias didn’t help Hillary Clinton. Polling was criticized during the general election for leaving out third parties. Gary Johnson didn’t get the 12% that was in one outlier, but he did get 3%. If more people saw that Clinton¬†was in danger, they may not have protest voted.
  • Demographics may have favored Democrats, but the numbers are shifting. Clinton’s bombardment of female voters did bring Trump’s numbers down with women, but hurt her numbers with men.
  • Trump’s message resonated with blue collar workers. While he ran a national campaign, he went to rallies and talked about domestic jobs and foreign threats. His biggest gain over Romney was getting 51% of people with a high school education compared to Romney’s mid 40% showing.

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The Ghosts of Christmas Past

December 25, 2016
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Over 7 years ago, I wrote about one of the most popular “modern” Christmas songs. It was written over 30 years ago by Wham! front man George Michael. On this Christmas Day, the world learned that he passed away.

Not only is the song popular in its own right, it has been covered multiple times by some big artists. It’s been a surprisingly tough year for 80’s pop music and pop culture.

One week left to go in 2016.


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Pre-Backlash

December 23, 2016
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Rules of presidential decorum are a sort of moving target. As bad as things are now, 150 years ago, we had two different presidents. The illegal one, obviously, was the Democrat. When Obama infested the White House, he didn’t wait to blame all of America’s woes on George W. Bush. In a fitting return, Donald Trump is now negotiating as president and badmouthing Obama before the inauguration.

The Obama White House is using their last weeks to scorch the earth that Trump will soon take over. The direction is decidedly pro-Arab. First, the database of questionable Muslims was ordered destroyed so that Trump will have to start from scratch to track persons of interest. Then today, the US declined to use its veto power and the UN condemned Israel for building settlements in “contested” territory.

Dealing with Russian oil sounds better all the time.


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Gays on a Plane

December 22, 2016
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The story of a guy and his “husband” harassing Ivanka Trump on a flight until they were thrown off has a lot to offer as a tabloid piece. Ivanka taking Jet Blue, which is like the Dollar Store of airlines. Gays being married, which is ironic to me because the Trump presidency killed the idea that same sex couples getting legally married is stupid. Then there’s the reaction of Trumpers, who are outraged at the disrespect about 5 minutes after their last neener neener comments about the last person to say something bad about Trump.

 


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I Choose You

December 21, 2016
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One thing Ronald Reagan did in 1980 was to bring back the image of Republicans as a principled and adult political party. One way he did that was by being a former FDR Democrats who found that his party had left behind its principled as he defined a new set of principles for Republican government based on lower taxes and less government waste.

Donald Trump had a similar draw. Trump was a Democrat for years and donated to New York candidates accordingly. I assume 9/11 and the pro-Islam approach of the current administration finally made him tired of being a Democratic party ally. In turn, it gave Republicans a sense that there was something desirable about the party, despite all the media opinion against the GOP.

The occasional lefty blogger writes about how Fox News made their dad a right-wing ideologue. There’s even a movie about one dad. Some of it was post-9/11, when some former Democrats ¬†decided that other liberals were arguing against the War on Terror for political reasons, or saw the Obama administration’s focus on ignoring the tacit support among the majority of Muslims toward terror. Others were sick of the weird culture of doing your own thing over caring about how people paid the bills.

Donald Trump not only spoke for the dads who turned to the right because the left was crazy, he was one of those dads. His White House staff is influenced by Fox News analysts and talk radio proposals. In the popular vote, he won the majority of men, the majority of people over 40 years old and almost double the amount of male Democrat votes than Hillary Clinton got votes from male Republicans.

This time, the dads won.


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Who Likes the Electoral College Now?

December 19, 2016
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Among other things, this country is one of the few with a name like The United States of America. We are a collection of different state governments that deal as one with other countries (for the most part). The last century has seen progressives trying to federalize the United States into a Dominion of America.

The most recent example of state rights to annoy the left is the Electoral College. I noticed a number of Trump supporters were wary of the process until it meant Trump won and Hillary didn’t. I always supported it, so I didn’t have to wait for it to be Trump approved. Since at least 2000, Democrats have been trying to make a popular plurality (most popular vote “winners” are incapable of majorities) the standard for the presidency.

The Democratic model is to create more customers by increasing the population density in cities. This does not bode well for the old Democratic model where blue collar workers had good union jobs. Those formerly Democratic states are turning Republican and the current Democratic states are only becoming more polarized.

States like New York are already fighting between a conservative part being dictated to by a geographically small, but populous liberal part of the state. If those lost Congressional districts are any indication, people have had enough of it. That’s the great thing about the USA. If you don’t like one state, you can go to one that’s very different.


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Electoral-fying

December 18, 2016
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The only reason tomorrow’s Electoral Vote is of any consequence is because Democrats have moved into the same head space that Republicans did who saw Donald Trump winning primaries and didn’t have any idea to stop him. Some wanted to free the delegates. Now, those who seek to de-legitimize the presidency want to free the Electors.

So it turns out that Trump’s plan of winning by plurality worked. The 46% of the popular vote he got in the general election matches the 45% he got in the Republican primaries. Of course, Bill Clinton won his first election with 43% of the popular vote. Back in 2000, the Democrats blamed Florida and the 500 vote margin for Bush’s presidency and he got 48%.

To say no one took Trump seriously is the wrong take. The voters took him seriously. It’s possible they did not take him literally. What they saw was a Rocky Balboa who was trying to win vs. Apollo Creed telling them he already won. This wasn’t just in the general election, but in the primaries as well.

The last few years have cleared the decks of a Democratic Party majority basically anywhere. Trump cleared out the GOP that was beholden to moneyed interests. Tomorrow and the days after are not about who wins. Republicans already won. This is about how Republicans can keep the support of Americans, even the ones who didn’t vote for them.


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